In a large company, it's nearly impossible to recognize every vendor, contractor, and new employee. Not only that, but most folks will not take the initiative to question someone they do not recognize. Intruders know this, and exploiting a lax or non-existent Visitor Management Policy is one way that they can gain access to a facility, steal information or property, or cause physical harm. Assigning a Floor Marshall is a simple and effective way to help protect your business against such intruders.
The Floor Marshall is a volunteer who is responsible to tactfully approach unknown or suspicious individuals and, if necessary, take appropriate action. Not only does a Floor Marshall help ensure that your Visitor Management Policy is followed, but he or she also provides a point of contact so that all employees can easily and safely report suspicious activities.
The number of Floor Marshalls you require will depend - not surprisingly - on the number of floors in your building. But you may also need to take into consideration the size and layout of each floor. A large, single story facility with several corridors as well as manufacturing and warehouse space may require several individuals. You should also assign primary and secondary Floor Marshall for each area to provide adequate coverage.
The Floor Marshall's Key Responsibilities are: providing a point of contact for concerned employees, approaching suspicious individuals, validating legitimate guests, and contacting Building Security or Law Enforcement if necessary.
Qualities of an Effective Floor Marshall
Carrying out these responsibilities will require tact and a certain amount of courage. However, it must be stressed that the Floor Marshall is a volunteer and not necessarily a security professional. The Floor Marshall should never be expected to step into harm's way.
Not only must the Floor Marshall exercise a mixture of tact and boldness in order to be effective, but he or she must also be approachable. Employees must never fear that they will be belittled if they set off a “false alarm.”
Finally, the Floor Marshall must be easy to contact in person or by email, cell phone, or text message.
The Floor Marshall Team should meet regularly as a committee to share ideas and discuss any incidents. This committee should report directly to the CSO, if your company has one. Where no CSO is available, the Floor Marshall should report to the person responsible for physical security. If no one in your company is responsible for physical security, then this exercise has just helped you identify a serious vulnerability in your organization.
The Floor Marshall should also have a direct link to Building Security and Law Enforcement, so make sure that you include both entities in your early discussions. When you contact your local Police or Sheriff’s Department, ask to speak to the Crime Prevention Officer. Crime Prevention Officers receive special training to assist individuals and businesses with issues such as personal safety, physical security, and workplace violence.
The Floor Marshall’s job becomes much simpler if you also establish a Visitor Management System that includes Visitor Badging. Every visitor should be required to sign in with a receptionist and indicate with whom they are visiting. This policy is most effective if each visitor is also given a badge to wear while on premise.
You must also establish a protocol for approaching possible intruders. This procedure will depend on your corporate culture as well as the personalities of your Marshalls. The specific approach should be discussed and agreed upon at your first Floor Marshall meeting. However, a suggested method is for the Floor Marshall to pleasantly introduce themselves to the person in question and request to see their Employee ID or Visitor Badge. If the person has a badge, the Marshall should contact the employee they are visiting for verification. If the person does not have a badge, the Marshall should escort them to the Receptionist’s Desk to sign in and be badged. If the individual in question does not have a valid business reason for being on premise, the Marshall should then politely escort them to the front door.
If the Marshall encounters any resistance, or feels threatened in any way, he or she should immediately contact Building Security or Law Enforcement.
A Floor Marshall Program is one part of an overall Visitor Management Policy. The Marshall should be accessible to his or her co-workers and have access to Building Security and Law Enforcement. Floor Marshalls are volunteers who are invaluable resources for preventing theft and workplace violence.